What does LGBTQIA stand for? A history of the popular umbrella acronym

As Pride Month progresses, those not familiar with terms used within the LGBT community might be asking themselves: What is this "LGBTQIA" business?

Simply, the term stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex and intergender and anonymous and ally. Not so simply, it took the gay community decades of cultural shift, dialogue and exchange to arrive at this umbrella term.

The move to normalize the LGBTQIA acronym began really began in the 1940's and 50's when the term "gay" started to be used as slang for men and women who were attracted to members of the same sex. Women also began to use the term "lesbian" more commonly in the 1970's to differentiate themselves.

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A sign seen during LA Pride Resist March in Los Angeles, California on June 11, 2017. Tens of thousands of members of the LGBTQ community and their allies gather for the annual gay pride parade which this year was replaced with a Resist March. (MANDATORY: Photo Credit: Ronen Tivony) (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LGBT members and their supporters take part of the Equality March for Unity & Pride parade in Washington DC, June 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: A man carries a sign referencing First Lady Melania Trump at the #ResistMarch during the 47th annual LA Pride Festival on June 11, 2017, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, California. Inspired by the huge women� marches that took place around the world following the inauguration of President Donald Trump and by the early pride demonstrations of the 1970s, LA Pride replaced its decades-old parade with the #ResistMarch protest to promote human rights by marching from Hollywood to West Hollywood. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
People participate in a Resist March that replaced the annual Pride Parade in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: A woman holds a sign in support of her transgender son at the #ResistMarch during the 47th annual LA Pride Festival on June 11, 2017, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, California. Inspired by the huge women� marches that took place around the world following the inauguration of President Donald Trump and by the early pride demonstrations of the 1970s, LA Pride replaced its decades-old parade with the #ResistMarch protest to promote human rights by marching from Hollywood to West Hollywood. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 11: People march in the #ResistMarch during the 47th annual LA Pride Festival on June 11, 2017, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles and West Hollywood, California. Inspired by the huge women� marches that took place around the world following the inauguration of President Donald Trump and by the early pride demonstrations of the 1970s, LA Pride replaced its decades-old parade with the #ResistMarch protest to promote human rights by marching from Hollywood to West Hollywood. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Members of the LGBT community and their supporters participate in the Los Angeles Gay Pride Resist March, June 11, 2017 in Hollywood, California. The Resist March is being held in conjunction with the LGBT Equality March for Unity & Pride parade in Washington DC. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
LGBT members and their supporters take part of the Equality March for Unity & Pride parade in Washington DC, June 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
LGBT members and their supporters take part of the Equality March for Unity & Pride parade in Washington DC, June 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)
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According to Steven Petrow of the Washington Post, the term "bisexual" started to become a truly recognized sexual identity in the 1990s. It was then that activists began advocating for the more prominent recognition of bisexual and transgender members of the gay community -- resulting in the term "GLBT" in the early 2000s. Today, GLBT and LGBT are interchangeable, but LGBT is more frequently used in the advocacy space.

Slowly but surely, prominent figures in political and pop culture moved the normalization of the gay community forward. Ellen DeGeneres came out in a 1997 episode of "Ellen," the first legal same-sex marriage occurs in Massachusetts in 2004 and Matthew Shepard's gruesome murder in Laramie, Wisconsin shined a light on the horrors of hate crime faced by the LGBT community.

"It's very culturally and generationally driven," Juniper Center Director Margo M. Jacquot recently said to the Chicago Tribune of the increasingly specific acronym additions.

The additional "QIA" has come to include those who identify as queer/questioning, intersex/intergender and asexual/ally. Some iterations of the acronym even add a "+" sign at the end, symbolizing the inclusion of all other identities.

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BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 27: Thousands of members of the LGBTQ community gathered today for the Birmingham Pride parade on May 27, 2017 in Birmingham, England. The Birmingham Pride is an annual festival for the LGBTQ community usually taking place over the Spring Bank Holiday. The event begins with a parade from Victoria Square in the city center to the Gay Village in Hurst Street. PHOTOGRAPH BY Jim Wood / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Jim Wood / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
A picture taken on June 5, 2017 shows a new green pedestrian crossing symbol depicting a same-sex couple in Madrid as the capital will host this year's World Pride festival from June 23 to July 2. / AFP PHOTO / OSCAR DEL POZO (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on June 5, 2017 shows a new green pedestrian crossing symbol depicting a same-sex couple in Madrid as the capital will host this year's World Pride festival from June 23 to July 2. / AFP PHOTO / OSCAR DEL POZO (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)
QUEENS, NY - JUNE 4: Members of New York City's gay, lesbian and transgender community prepare to march in the Queens Gay Pride parade on June 4, 2017 in Jackson Heights, Queens. The parade route down Northern Boulevard travels through a working class immigrant neighborhood. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
QUEENS, NY - JUNE 4: Members of New York City's gay, lesbian and transgender community prepare to march in the Queens Gay Pride parade on June 4, 2017 in Jackson Heights, Queens. The parade route down Northern Boulevard travels through a working class immigrant neighborhood. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
<> on September 29, 2016 in New York City.
BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 27: Thousands of members of the LGBTQ community gathered today for the Birmingham Pride parade on May 27, 2017 in Birmingham, England. The Birmingham Pride is an annual festival for the LGBTQ community usually taking place over the Spring Bank Holiday. The event begins with a parade from Victoria Square in the city center to the Gay Village in Hurst Street. PHOTOGRAPH BY Jim Wood / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Jim Wood / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 27: Thousands of members of the LGBTQ community gathered today for the Birmingham Pride parade on May 27, 2017 in Birmingham, England. The Birmingham Pride is an annual festival for the LGBTQ community usually taking place over the Spring Bank Holiday. The event begins with a parade from Victoria Square in the city center to the Gay Village in Hurst Street. PHOTOGRAPH BY Jim Wood / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Jim Wood / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
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